It would be nice to post about how I revolutionised my writing process and was able to achieve a perfect work/passion balance with no adverse side effects.
On the one hand, I'm tempted to portray the 'everything went well and NOW YOU CAN DO IT TOO' version of this story.
The truth, however, is that prioritising my fiction (currently non-paying) was scary and I didn't keep it up. Mounting pressure from deadlines for paying work and the compelling need to exchange money for goods and services got to me. I cracked.
So this is a short post about failing. Falling. Sliding.
Grabbing a handhold.
Working out a new way up.
I was happier when I was prioritizing my fiction, which meant that people around me were happier too, and the world did not end. The world not ending is a key point for me to remember when it's getting scary.
I lost a client though and I hated that. Having won her trust (I think I dazzled her with my cover letter and feedback), I ultimately let her down because something had to go and it was her project.
I was pretty upfront about needing some flexibility with time, but in the end she couldn't wait the 500% longer than we'd initially agreed. I can't fault her for that.
She was very quick and nice about ending my contract. She ripped off the plaster, told me I was a brave boy, and then she was gone, along with a bit of my ego and money that had my name on it.
I'm not taking on extra work, but it's a challenge meeting the needs of my current clients and getting weird fiction out of my head. I've had a few clients ask me if "everything is ok?" to which I respond: "we're going through a transition."
You could replace 'transition' with 'asteroid belt'
Although no-one is kicking up much of a fuss yet, I don't want it to get to that. I'm not a perfectionist, but I'm not content to do a substandard job or deliver it late.
I think that one more week of ridiculous work will put me up to date again and then I'll be able to spend more time on fiction. It feels a bit like losing, but I think it's tactical, like giving myself the best chance of success and starting from a position of strength.
I currently have 3 jobs, which is actually my comfort zone and wise in a way in this political/economic environment. It does make the work-life balance a work-work-work-life balance though, and that can be tricky. I
I'll keep writing though. And well done to everyone reading this who has ever felt a similar way. I suppose I AM saying 'you can do it' after all, only 'you can do it better than me.'
Good news: I'm also building a time machine. And I've got an idea for a 'Time-Reversing-Diode.' Big things are happening. Or have happened, depending on whose holding the TuRD.
If you have any work-life balance tips that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them. Comments from people with kids and jobs get gold stars.
I'm Dean Clayton Edwards, author of dark fiction stories, novellas and novels.